Civil Rights

USA: African Americans, Native Americans, Trade Unions, Women

African Americans

13th Amendment

January 1865

Abolished Slavery throughout USA

Special Field Order no15

January 1865 - December 1865

"40 acres and a mule" initiative enabled through the setting aside of S. Carolina & Georgia lands for former slaves
Revoked by P Johnson

Freedmen's Bureau

March 1865 - 1872

Fed Gov established schools, jobs...etc for former slaves (allowed them to negotiate wages...etc)

Lincoln Assassinated

14 April 1865

VP Johnson (Southern, White Democrat) ascended to Presidency

Civil Rights Bill

9 April 1866

Congress overpowered VP Johnson's VETO (2/3 major.) to declare all people born in the USA (except Indians) US citizens

14th Amendment

13 June 1866

Made blacks US citizens (like CR Bill)

Reconstruction Act

March 1867

Fed military occupation of S'rn states
Required to ratify 14th Amendment before readmission to US

15th Amendment

3 February 1870

Outlawed denial of enfranchisement on the grounds of race, colour, previous conditions of servitude...etc

Martial Law

1871 - 1877

P Ulysses S Grant declared martial law in S. Carolina - lynchings/ mob attacks...etc out of control
1877 US troops withdrawn from S'rn states - marks end of Reconstruction

Civil Rights Act of 1875

1 March 1875 - 1883

Forbade racial discrimination in public areas
1883: declared unconstitutional by SPC

Tuskegee Institute


Booker T Washington founded this educational facility to aid blacks with acquiring skills necessary for work, particularly domestic/ labour - it also helped blacks learn how to read&write

Voting Restrictions


Mississippi was the 1st state to institute these - ranged from literacy, taxes, land ownership to the infamous 'grandfather clause'

Plessy v Ferguson

18 May 1896

SPC ruled segregation not unconstitutional if "separate but equal"

Williams v Mississippi

25 April 1898

SPC approved Mississippi voter requirements, which effectively rendered blacks disenfranchised

Niagara Movement

July 1905

A group of blacks, notably W E Du Bois, met in Canada to discuss moves for racial equality

NAACP founded

2 February 1909

Integrated organisation dedicated to fighting against racial discrimination in US, esp segregation
Results only begin to reveal themselves fully 1950s/60s

The First Great Migration

1910 - 1930

Between 1.5 and 3 million S'rn blacks moved to N'rn industrial cities for work - av black family income tripled in this period

UNIA founded


Founded under Marcus Garvey, aimed at improving the situation of blacks across the US & the globe

Guinn v United States


NAACP case: SPC declared 'grandfather clause' unconstitutional

Buchanan v Warley


NAACP case: SPC declared Kentucky law that blacks & whites must live in separate areas of the city unconstitutional

World War One

6 April 1917 - 11 November 1918

Black soldiers served in segregated units, but some received medals of honour
At home, blacks continued to move N to fill vacant workplaces, aiding the war effort and the growth of the black consciousness

East St Louis Riot

May 1917 - July 1917

Race-related riot that led to the death of 100 people

Houston Trial

1 Nov 1917

Following mutiny by +100 black soldiers (in response to racial discrimination), 13 black soldiers were court martialled and hanged

Harlem Renaissance

1920 - 1929

A cultural growth centred around N'rn, urban black communities. Jazz, art, dance...etc flourished - allowing the development of a collective black identity essential to the black CR movement

Garvey arrested


FBI finally arrested Garvey on the count of mail fraud for $25 - a share in his Black Star Line (founded 1919)
Eventually deported back to Jamaica in 1927

Moore v Dempsey


NAACP case: SPC declared systematic exclusion of blacks from juries unconstitutional

BSCP founded


A Philip Randolph led the US' first black TU, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters

The Great Depression

1929 - 1938

The crash of Wall Street instigated a worldwide economic slump which centred around the US and Europe
In the US, P Roosevelt responded with the New Deal

Bonus March on Washington

May 1932 - July 1932

20,000 WWI veterans (inc blacks) marched to demand early payment of their veteran's benefits - to pay rent...etc during Depression

Social Security Act

14 August 1935

New Deal legislation: provided assistance to workers but excluded farmers and domestics therefore was limited in its aiding of blacks

Invasion of Abyssinia

May 1936

Blacks in the US protested US lack of involvement in the Abyssinian Crisis

Berlin Olympics

1 August 1936

Jesse Owens was the central star of the Olympics - showing the rising status of blacks in specific fields (notably sport, music and dance)

Gaines v Canada


NAACP case: SPC ruled that Missouri had to either open a new law school for blacks or open up its current one to them - under Plessy v Ferguson ruling

The Second Great Migration

1941 - 1970

5m blacks moved to urban, industrial neighbourhoods and the economic situation of blacks increased dramatically

Executive Order 8802

25 June 1941

P Roosevelt prohibited racial discrimination in the defense forces in order to prevent A Philip Randolph's threatened March on Washington (100,000 blacks)
The order established the FEPC - which did little in terms of practical aid for blacks

World War Two

7 December 1941 - 15 August 1945

American involvement began with the bombing of Pearl Harbor and ended with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
The main target of US efforts was the Japanese front, significantly less important was the European one

CORE founded


Congress for Racial Equality was founded as an interracial, non-violent protest group aimed at segregation and social, political and legal equality for blacks. The group drew inspiration from Gandhi, staging sit-ins across the US

G.I. Bill

22 June 1944

Provided benefits for WWII veterans returning home, which extended to black veterans too.
The education opportunities afforded, inc free college tuition, paved the way for a new class of educated, socially and politically aware blacks to lead future generations

Executive Order 9808

5 December 1946 - December 1947

Truman established a Presidential Commission on Civil Rights to investigate, and protect, the status of CR in the US

The Cold War

1947 - 1991

US vs Soviet Russia
The US required the aid of countries with populations predominantly non-white and felt the hypocrisy of pursuing these nations without adequate racial equality at home

First Black in Pro-Baseball League

15 April 1947

Jackie Robinson was admitted to the Brookyln Dodgers as the first black in a Pro-Baseball League. While a precedent had already been set by Jesse Owens, the Olympics were exceptional whereas baseball was a national, regular sport

Presidential Election

2 November 1948

Truman won the election without the majority of the white vote.
Southern Democrats split from Democrat Party following the decision to adopt a CR platform - forming the Dixiecrats (States' Rights Party) which won 4 states

First Black in Peacetime Navy

3 June 1949

Wesley A Brown graduated from USNA having been supported by his NY congressman

Brown v Board of Education

17 May 1954

NAACP case: SPC ruled separate educational facilities to be "inherently unequal" (reversing Plessy decision)

Malcolm X preaches for NOI

1955 - 1965

Nation of Islam was a Muslim Brotherhood which, against traditional Islamic inclusive teachings, preached that all whites were evil & that God was black so only blacks could follow him.
Malcolm X was kicked out of NOI for having converted to Sunni traditions upon an awakening visit to Mecca, revealing racial coexistance

Emmett Till

28 August 1955

Murdered in Mississippi for reportedly flirting with a 21 yo, white woman

Rosa Parks

1 December 1955

Was thrown off a bus in Montgomery, Alabama as part of the growing bus boycott movement there - for refusing to give up her seat to a white person.
Her actions were picked up by the NAACP, who asked MLK Jr to be the movement's spokesperson

SCLC Formed

10 January 1957

MLK Jr led a group of ministers to form a group aimed at non-violent protest against S'rn segregation

Little Rock Nine

September 1957

Nine black kids were enrolled into the previously all-white school in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The Govenor used state troops to prevent the kids from entering the school, causing a national public outcry - which forced P Eisenhower to send in Fed troops to protect the kids to and from the school.

Vietnam War

1959 - 1975

Greensboro Sit-in

1 February 1960

4 black college students arranged a sit-in at a local Woolworth's diner in NC that had an only white eat-in policy - within days the number of students grew to 150 & in the thousands throughout the year.

SNCC Formed

April 1960

Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee was committed to non-violent protest against segregation

Executive Order 10925

6 March 1961

Required all Fed-funded employers to meet requirements of racial intake so as to prevent racial discrimination in the workplace, signed by JFK

Freedom Rides

May 1961

To test SPC ruling of the unconstitutionality of segregation in interstate travel. The Riders were met with extreme white violence.

Birmingham Campaign


A series of protests organised by the SCLC - in Birmingham, Alabama - were met aggressive police action: inc. dogs and high-power water hoses.
The non-violent marches were intentionally lined with children, who also suffered as a result of police action.

March on Washington

28 August 1963

Involved >200,000 peaceful demonstrators in a revival of A. Philip Randolph's protest idea from 1941.
The event is perhaps most famous for MLK Jr's 'I Have a Dream' speech

JFK assassination

22 November 1963

VP LBJ inhereted the duration of his 4th presidential term

The Summer Project

June 1964

(aka Freedom Summer) SCLC & others set about trying to register as many black voters in Mississippi as possible, despite intense white resistance

Civil Rights Act

2 July 1964

Declared the prohibition of discriminatory acts on the basis of race, nationality, religion and gender - especially in unequal voting restrictions

Malcolm X assassination

21 February 1965

By NOI members

Bloody Sunday

6 March 1965

(aka Selma to Montgomery Marches) Non-violent protest against voter restriction laws and segregation led to violent police response: inc. beatings & use of tear-gas

Voting Rights Act

6 August 1965

LBJ persuaded Congress to pass the Act which outlawed all voter qualification tests
In the following 3 years >1m S'rn blacks registered to vote

Watts Riots

11 August 1965 - 17 August 1965

Resulted in 34 deaths and 100 times the arrests.
The riots took on a racial element after police appeared to use brutality to force a black man to be compliant with an arrest for suspected drunk driving

Black Power Movement

1966 - 1974

First used by Carmichael, having just left jail

Black Panther Party founded


Advocated violent response to violent treatment (esp polic brutality - even killing police 'unprovoked')
Supported the carrying of arms (for self-defence) and established patrols in N'rn black cities

Kerner Commission Report

February 1968

Reported that US contained two societies: "one white, one black - separate and unequal"

MLK Jr assassination

4 April 1968

His death was followed by outbursts of racial violence, particularly in industrial, N'rn cities
In the wake of his funeral, the Poor People's Campaign (organised by him & SCLC) carried out their planned 'occupation' of Washington, DC with 300,000 tents

Regents of UofCa v Allan Bakke

28 June 1978

Ruled that affirmative action at Medical school was Unconstitutional
Bakke, white 33 yo male, had been denied entry to all medical schools despite high GPA & experience records

Rodney King Riots

29 April 1992 - 4 May 1992

Race riots broke out in LA after a police brutality incident where two officers tased & beat an ex-con on parole instead of taking the usual actions towards an arrest after a high-speed chase

Native Americans

First Indian Land Treaty


Restricted buffalo-hunting abilities, so Fed Gov establish Indian Agent to distribute food. But agents were corrupt and stole profit from selling on goods intended for indians.

The Plains Wars

1862 - 1867

Better quality weapons won out over knowledge of the land, teaching Indian elders that resistance may well be futile

Sand Creek Massacre

29 November 1864

A group of 700 cavalry men attacked a Cheyenne camp, killing and mutilating >150 women & children

Fort Laramie Treaty


Established the 'Great Sioux Reserve' (which included the Black Hills, later taken back by the state in contravention of the 3/4 male pop. majority, self-determination clause)

Battle of Little Bighorn

25 June 1876

Fed gov troops sent in to prevent indians attempting to hunt buffalo off-reservation were obliterated - all were injured or killed by a force of Cheyenne tribesmen

IRA founded


Indian Rights Association was a philanthropic, white organisation aimed at indian assimilation (with close ties to missionary institutes). They criticised Fed Board of Indian Commissioners for mistreating indians.

The Dawes Act


Allotted reservation lands into homesteads for nuclear families to encourage assimilation to American agricultural way of life

Wounded Knee Massacre

29 December 1890

200 Sioux who had escaped a reservation to search for food were gunned down by army officers (in context of national fear regarding 'Ghost Dance' ritual)

The Curtis Act


Included the 'Five Civilised Tribes' (inc. Cherokee) under The Dawes Act, destroying their previous position of self-determination

Lone Wolf v Hitchcock

5 January 1903

SPC supported right of Congress to revoke sections of treaties regarding indian land without indian consent (ignoring common self-determination clauses)

Muskogee Convention

21 August 1905

Convention of elders of the five major tribes to draw up a treaty for an indian state in Oklahoma. This proposed statehood was denied by Congress

SAI founded


The Society of American Indians was a group of 50 educated indian men & women from across tribes united to form a pressure group asking for better healthcare & education on reservations. Their work was hindered by poor funds & lack of indian support.

World War One

6 April 1917 - 11 November 1918

10,000 indian men served in integrated units
Fed gov provided financial support to families leaving reservations to work in defense industry

The Leavitt Bill 'Dance Order'


Prohibited indians from performing traditional spiritual rituals (inc. dances)

AIDA formed


American Indian Defense Association was aimed at improving understanding of indian cultural practices and thereby improving reservation conditions. The group was largely made up of writers and anthropologists

Indian Citizenship Act

2 June 1924

Granted all indians the vote & full US citizenship

The Meriam Report

21 February 1928

Condemned Fed gov actions under The Dawes Act for economically crippling indian community by both destroying traditional methods & failing in assimilation.
P Hoover responded by appointing a new Indian Commissioner who closed many indian, off-reservation schools & improved medical facilities BUT maintained the allotment system

Indian Reorganisation Act

18 June 1934

Indians were given more control over administration in reservations & allowed more freedom of cultural practise.
Reservation lands were prevented from being sold privately & land sold over last 30 years was returned.

World War Two

7 December 1941 - 15 August 1945

100,000 indians left Fed-appointed land: 25,000 served with distinction (Iroquois resisted draft) BUT were denied G.I. benefits
Situation on reservations deteriorated, due to lack of Fed funds, and only worsened when J'se were relocated there

NCAI founded


National Congress of American Indians was formed from representatives of 50 tribes aimed at effective, unified protest against institutional discrimination.
They often worked through the court system, inspired by NAACP

Indian Claims Commission

13 August 1946 - 1978

Established with the apparent aim to restore land originally owned by tribes back, wherever possible. However, it worked extremely slowly & usually only awarded financial compensation or sided against the tribes

Urban Incentives


Bureau for Indian Affairs established positively discriminated employment opportunities in major cities close to reservations for off-reservation indians


1953 - 1968

Plans were put in place to drastically reduce Fed control regarding indians (aim to end reservations, Fed services/aid & individual treaty rights)
BUT failed due to lack of indian self-sufficiency & extremely negative results

Indian Vocational Training Act


Provided individuals with training in 'marketable-skills' (often clerical/ domestic) to enable them to live off-reservation in accordance with US lifestyle

NIYC founded

11 August 1961

National Indian Youth Council was formed by a group of young indians who wanted stronger action to fight for indian fishing, hunting and original treaty rights. They took inspiration from contemporary black CR groups - even staging 'fish-ins'

AIM founded


American Indian Movement focused on discrimination against indian youths, using the most militant tactics of any indian CR groups (part of the 'Red Power Movement'). Aimed towards the establishment of national sovreignty for all indian tribes united

"The Forgotten Americans" speech

6 March 1968

P LBJ's address to Congress promoting a program of indian self-determination & a nationwide respect for cultural differences (in the context of indians having national worst literacy, health, employment & housing of all minorities)

First Indian Commissioner for Indian Affairs


Appointed by P Nixon was Louis R Bruce (Mohawk-Sioux)
- 1970 he returned land to Makah & Taos Pueblo Indian tribes
- 1972 he returned land to the Sioux tribe & granted employment preference at the Bureau to indians

Seige of Alcatraz

20 November 1969 - 11 June 1971

14 indians occupied the deserted prison island, previously indian territory, & offered Fed gov $24 of beads/cloth for it (allegedly same price paid for Manhattan)
During occupation 10,000 indians visited the site and the struggle received much media coverage

NARF founded


Native American Rights Fund holds the Fed gov up to the laws it has previously put in place to aid the situation of indians, focussing especially on self-determination & increased personal economic responsibility

Indian Education Act

23 June 1972

Provided a substantial increase in Fed funding for reservation schools & closed the most notorious boarding schools still running

Trail of Broken Treaties

3 November 1972 - 9 November 1972

A nationwide march in protest against anti-indian discrimination (during presidential election year) culminated in the AIM-centred takeover of the BIA HQ

Occupation of Wounded Knee

27 February 1973 - 8 May 1973

Violent occupation involving exchange of gunfire in response to corrupt officials & failure of Fed gov to honour treaties. Was eventually settled by negotiation, only after much media coverage

Oneida v Oneida & Madison Counties

21 January 1974

SPC supported indian tribes' rights to sue for land originally occupied by said tribe

Indian Self-Determination & Education Assistance Act

4 January 1975

Established a process by which tribes could negotiate better reservation funds & provided a greater supply of general funds.
Improved indian self-determination regarding education through providing school board positions

Fisher v Montana

1 March 1976

SPC supported the rights of indian tribes to retain control over adoption & foster-care placements of indian children

American Indian Religious Freedom Act

11 August 1978

Allowed freedom of traditional cultural practices - stimulating a search for heritage sites & sacred objects

Indian Child Welfare Act

8 November 1978

Attempted to reduce the occurrence of indian children being forcibly removed from their homes by social workers, on account of a lack of understanding for cultural practices

United States v Sioux Nation

30 June 1980

SPC ruled that Sioux tribe was entitled to $17.5m (& 5% interest per annum = $106m) for the unconstitutional repatriation of the Black Hills of Dakota, against the Fort Laramie treaty. The Sioux refused the money, instead continuing to fight for the return of this land

Seminole Tribe v Butterworth

5 October 1981

SPC ruled in support of indians establishing gambling houses, even when against state laws

Charrier v Bell


SPC supported indian desire to bury remains according to cultural practices, including those currently housed in museums


16 November 1990

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act supported indian claims to remains on display in museums and in the process of being studied by archaeologists for to bury them in accordance with cultural traditions


Declaration of Sentiments


Made at first women's CR convention (Seneca Falls, NY)
Called for equal treatment under the law & enfranchisement, establishing the direction of the movement for a long time to come

AERA formed


Susan B Anthony formed the American Equal Rights Association with the aim of suffrage for all, regardless of race or gender

14th Amendment

9 July 1868

Women had fought hard for black rights BUT received no recognition in this regard (although already legal citizens)

NWSA formed

15 May 1869

Susan B Anthony formed another, more radical organisation aimed at solving various women's issues (inc enfranchisement) through Congressional amendments to the Constitution

AWSA formed

November 1869

A more conservative group demanding suffrage (only aim) through amendments to state constitutions

Wyoming gives women the vote

10 December 1869

Set a precedent (especially for W'rn territories - possibly explained by the increase in voting pop used to apply for statehood)

15th Amendment

3 February 1870

Following on from 14th Amendment, the failure of female suffrage campaigners to achieve voting rights for themselves as well as blacks was a tough blow

Comstock Act

7 March 1873

Fed court banned pornography, birth control devices, abortion and information regarding these

WCTU formed

23 December 1873

The Women's Christian Temperance Union was founded to work for prohibition - led by Frances Willard (keen suffrage activist). The prohibition cause became a women's campaign due to its ties to family income and political exclusion arising from meetings being held in mens-only taverns

First woman on SPC Bar

3 March 1879

Belva Lockwood was granted the right to argue in front of the SPC on the 1880 case 'Kaiser v Stickney', as the first female lawyer ever to do so - a decade after the first female lawyer was admitted to the bar


1890 - 1914

US reform in areas such as housing, working conditions, small business...etc had a huge impact on the place of women in society & were often seen as the achieving of women's issues

NAWSA formed

May 1890

Unification of the NWSA and AWSA to fight for suffrage on a local, state and Fed level.

Woman Suffrage Parade

3 March 1913

The women's suffrage march, of 8000, in DC the day before P Wilson's inauguration was broken up by a mob aided by the police. A resulting Congressional investigation led to the dismissal of the DC Chief of Police

Margaret Sanger prosecuted


Margaret Sanger was prosecuted by Fed court for publishing articles on birth control and sexual health for 'The Woman Radical'. Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the 1873 Comstock Act, banning information regarding these issues

First woman elected to HoR

7 November 1916

Jeannette Rankin, Rpb'n from Monatana (W'n)

World War One

6 April 1917 - 11 November 1918

First women were officially allowed to serve in the military (nurses, electricians..etc) - 13k enlisted.
When 450 female telephone operators had to be sent overseas they retained civilian status & thus did not receive veteran benefits.
1m women worked in 'war industries'.
BUT end of the war, women returned home & were again excluded from the military.


17 January 1920 - 7 April 1933

Had been a women's issue

19th Amendment

18 August 1920

The ammendment gave all US women the right to vote, under same guidlines as men. The Bill was originally brought to the House during WWI BUT Senate blocked it for a year (S'rnrs)

BCCRB established


Margaret Sanger set up US' first lasting Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in NY to distribute birth control devices to women, exploiting a legal loophole allowing medical facilities to do so

Failure of ERA


Alice Paul (renowed suffrage campaigner) introduced the Equal Rights Amendment to Congress in 1923 - an argument for equality under the law, not just the ballot.
It was never passed, despite being passed by both houses in 1972, as S'rn states were mobilised to oppose it and the 50yr limit expired

ABCL formed


Margaret Sanger incorporated the American Birth Control League with an aim to the solving of problems with world pop growth, arms races & famine

Firsst woman elected Governor

5 January 1925

Nellie Tayloe Ross became Governor of Wyoming, W'rn - first to grant women the vote, an held office for two years on a platform of Prohibition support

First woman elected to Senate

May 1932

Hattie Caraway of Arkansas, S'rn, served a full term in the Senate

First female Presidential Cabinet member

4 March 1933

Frances Perkins was appointed by FDR to be the Secretary of Labor (4th in history), and was therefore responsible for the relationship between labour and the New Deal.

Federal Economy Act

20 March 1933

Congress stipulated that no 2 persons of the same family could both be employed by the Fed gov, this led to the discharging of many employees (3/4 of which were women)

US v One Package


US Circuit Court of Appeals allowed physicians to mail birth control devices and information BUT only applied to NY, CT & VT

AMA included birth control in education


After a detailed report was published, the AMA was forced to included birth control in its requirements of essential elements of medical practice/education.
This prompted NC to recognise the issue as a public health measure and provide services to mothers through state health programs

World War Two

7 December 1941 - 15 August 1945

6m women took up positions during wartime BUT continued to be paid less for the same jobs as men: "Free a man for service" campaign
350k served in the military, most as nurses
WAC & WASP were formed to free up men to serve abroad by testing military machinery at home
Unlike in WWI, 2/3 of women employed during the war remained in employment at the end BUT there was considerable social pressure for women to leave their jobs

Landmark Book Publishings


1) 'A Century of Struggle' - first history of C19th women's movement, implicit call to arms
2) 'A Century of Higher Education for American Women' - disclosed the declining academic position of women (US & global)
3) 'Women and Work in America' - women's occupational role outside the home had barely changed between 1890 and 1950

FDA approved 'The Pill'


Enovid (the combined contraceptive) was made available and went on the market, BUT could only be legally used in certain states

President's Commission on the Status of Women

14 December 1961

P JFK was pressured into investigating the status of women vis a vis education, the workplace & the home
1963: the Commission Report ('The American Woman') revealed that there was severe discrimination against women in all areas of life

'The Feminine Mystique' published

19 February 1963

Cited as the founding moment of Second-Wave Feminism; highlighted the negative impact of WWII ideology in creating the middle-class, surburban, stay-at-home wife as the new ideal

Equal Pay Act

10 June 1963

Amended the Fair Labor Standards Act to prohibit payment discrimination on the basis of gender

Civil Rights Act

2 July 1964

The motion to include gender as one of the categories against which there should be no discrimination was arguably introduced in jest by Howard W Smith (staunch opponent of all CR legislation)

Griswold v Connecticut

7 June 1965

SPC ruled marital use of birth control constitutional on the grounds of marital privacy

EEOC formed

2 July 1965

Specified under Title VII of the CR Act, 1964 - the Equal Employment Opportunities Committee was established to ensure fair treatment in the world of work (regardless of gender, race...etc)
BUT notoriously ignored complaints regarding sexual discrimination & thus failed to enforce the CR Act for women

NOW formed

30 June 1966

The National Organization for Women aimed to get women an active and equal role in US society (with the same privileges & responsibilities as men). NOW focused on employment, but also looked at child-care, abortion & maternity leave.
Was the main moderate force in Second-Wave feminism

Executive Order 11375

13 October 1967

Declared that Fed employers had to take affirmative action to ensure equal treatment/opportunities regardless of gender, race, colour, religion...etc

Weeks v Southern Bell

9 November 1967

Lorena Weeks had been denied a promotion on the grounds of a state law preventing women from lifting anything heavier than 30lbs (despite having to lift a 34lb typewriter onto her desk each day). She sent a complaint to the EEOC which was picked up by NOW.
The court ruled in her favour, paying her compensation & giving her the promotion.

WITCH formed


The Women's International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell used militant tactics to try to achieve gender equality; they picketed pageants (which objectified/degraded women) & led the famous Freedom Trash Can march.
WITCH received a lot of negative press & criticism from other CR groups (inc SNCC)

WEAL formed


The Women's Equity Action League broke away from NOW to form a more conservative campaign for women in education, economics & employment (thus avoiding health issues & the failure of the EEOC)

Gender-specific job ads banned


The EEOC (after 2 years of targetted protest by NOW) banned gender-specific 'help wanted' advertisements - excepting in industries where gender is inherently important (eg. acting)
1973 SPC upheld the ban in HR

California Family Law Act

1 January 1970

CA became the first state to adopt a 'no-fault' divorce law, with the intention of promoting equality between men & women (hitherto parties had to show adultery, abandonment, felony & recrimination was a suitable defence)

NWPC founded


The National Women's Political Caucus was founded by Betty Friedan & Gloria Steinem to advocate for women taking a greater role in elective official positions

Reed v Reed

22 November 1971

SPC ruled that the naming of administrators of estates cannot be sex discriminatory (otherwise violates 14th Amendment).
This was the first instance of the SPC ruling against a state in favour of women's CR

Feminists for Life formed


Pro-life organisation formed by famous feminists, with the aim of eliminating the roots causes driving women to abortion

Eisenstadt v Baird

22 March 1972

SPC ruled it unconstitutional for unmarried couples to be denied the same rights as married ones - thus legalising the use of birth control by unmarried couples

Title IX of Education Amendments

23 June 1972

NOW pressure led to Congress passing a law giving the EEOC authority to sue in Fed courts where employment discrimination was evident.
It also required equal opportunity in every Fed-subsidised educational program, leading to 'affirmative action'

Roe v Wade

22 January 1973

In conjunction with Doe v Bolton (a simultaneous case) the SPC ruled it unconstitutional to deny a woman access to abortion, on the grounds of right to privacy (14th Amendment)

WEEA passed


The Women's Educational Equity Act provided Fed funding for promoting gender equality in education - through the curriculum, counseling, phys ed & teaching styles. It also expanded training & vocational awareness for young women

Equal Credit Opportunity Act


Made credit discrimination illegal on the basis of race, gender, martial status, religion, age...etc

SD outlaws marital rape


South Dakota became the first state to do so, by 1993 all states had official recognised & outlawed this

Taylor v Louisiana

21 January 1975

SPC ruled that excluding women from jury participation was unconstitutional on the basis of right to a fair trial by community

Pregnancy Discrimination Act


Made employment discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions illegal

First female SPC judge

21 September 1981

P Reagan appointed her, potentially a token act to balance out his opposition of the ERA/equal pay/legal abortion

Hill/Thomas testimony

October 1991

When Thomas (black judge) was nominated to SPC, Hill (black woman) testified to FBI that he had sexually harrassed her. The Senate's consequent investigation included inappropriately forward sexual assumptions about Hill leading to Thomas being confirmed 52-48.
This prompted a resurgence in the women's CR movement

'Year of the Woman'


Prompted by the Thomas controversy, an unprecedented number of women re-engaged in the CR movement, running for office & denouncing 'dead-end' female activism groups (eg. NOW).
Women accussed old-style feminism of becoming 'anti-male, anti-family & anti-woman', therefore finding the need to revamp its image.

Trade Unions

Contract Labor Law

4 July 1864

Allowed employers to pay for immigrant workers' passage to US - on provision that they would then work for them. Repealed 8 March 1868 (aided by NLU).

NLU founded


The National Labor Union lasted only 6 years (BUT had more than 600,000 members by 1868). It included unskilled & skilled workers BUT excluded Chinese, women & blacks. Fought for general aims of work day...etc

Knights of Labor founded


Focused on traditional US way (thereby rejected common socialist principles of TUs) so united workers in a 'melting-pot' TU (all 'producers'). It also condemned strike action.

The Long Penn Strike

1 January 1875 - 10 December 1875

The strike was extremely violent, with some of the cause coming from the Molly Maguire TU. Employers called in private detectives to infiltrate MMs & identify the main leaders - 20 of which were hanged for murder/conspiracy 1876.

The Great Railroad Strike

14 July 1877 - 4 September 1877

Strike was triggered by wage cuts in E'n railroads. The interstate nature of the railroad led to massive strike & nationwide impact: 2/3 railway network paralysed & 100s of cities involved in the strike, >100 dead.
In Pittsburgh, 25 died in striker/state militia combat lasting for 3 days.

P Hayes intervention in Pittsburgh Strike

21 July 1877 - 24 July 1877

25 deaths in striker/state militia attacks lasting for 3 days. P Hayes responded by sending in the Fed troops, effectively ending the strike & turning public opinion away from the strikers

European Immigration

1880 - 1890

Several 100,000 unskilled workers per year moved from Europe. The labour market thus started to favour employers, reducing bargaining power of employees, & divisions deepened between national backgrounds

Fed Bureau of Labor Statistics formed


A branch of the Fed Dept of Labor which was formed in response to KoL pressure; it aimed to keep the public informed on socio/economic issues.

KoL win against Jay Gould


Spontaneous strike in response to wage cuts led them to be raised again by Gould (infamous for hardline on TUs)

Foran Act 1885

26 February 1885

Prohibited contract labour wherein employers enticed foreigners to travel to work in the US for low wages

AFofL formed

May 1886

The American Federation of Labor was US' biggest craft union & remains today (AFofL-CIO), originally excluding women, Chinese and blacks. It had traditional aims (working day...etc) & methods (strikes, boycotts...etc) BUT was uninterested in socialism (promoted union-preference shops)

Haymarket Affair

4 May 1886

A protest (involving 80,000) in response to a striker being killed in clash with policemen was broken up by a bomb thrown by an alleged-KoL member, killing 7 & injuring 37. Police opened fire, killing 4. 200 'anarchists' were rounded up by the policy and 7 sentenced to death.

Homestead Strike

6 July 1892

24,000 member steel&iron TU went on strike when 1 instance of pay cut disputes escalated to collective bargaining. Carnegie employer called in strike-breakers & Pinkerton detectives to break the strike BUT strikers responded with rifles & dynamite, killing 10 & wounding 60.
State governor called in State troops (8,000) & strike was broken - also breaking the Carnegie steel union

Pullman Strike

May 1894 - July 1894

Sleeping Car workers: 33% wage cuts combined with steady rent prices led to a strike when 3 TU members were sacked for attempting to raise the issue. Cause was taken up by 150k-large TU (American Railway Union); sympathy strike involving 125k

P Cleveland intervention in Pullman Strike

1 June 1894 - 25 June 1894

Fed troops were sent in under pretext of strike hinderance of Fed postal system; strikers were burning private property in clashes with troops. The employers won a Fed-court 'blanket' injunction against strikers.

Labor Day becomes Fed holiday

September 1894

Anthracite Coal Strike

May 1902 - October 1902

140,000 workers went on strike for 20% wage increase & 9-10hr working day, mine owners refused to negotiate. Public opinion lay with miners, despite severe consequences of coal shortage.

P T.Roosevelt intervention in Anthracite strike

3 October 1902 - 8 October 1902

P Roosevelt threatened to send in Fed troops on side of striekrs to aid coal production for US. Mine-owners gave in & 5mnths later P Roosevelt awarded coal miners with Fed 10% wage increase & shorter work day.
P Roosevelt's actions were arguably unconstitutional - private property

Dept of Commerce & Labor

4 February 1903

P Roosevelt encorage Congress to create this new dept, which was later divided in two in 1913. The aim was to smooth out the mounting antagonisms between capital & labour

Lochner v New York

17 April 1905

SPC ruled that a law passed to limit working day (10hrs for bakers) was unconstitutional in preventing individuals from achieving max possible earning potential

Wobblies founded

8 June 1905

The Industrial Workers of the World were a revolutionary, militant, anarchist-syndicalist TU. They aimed to united all workers around the world in a fight against capitalist oppression BUT were v unsuccessful in US; causing hatred & fear among most.

L.A. Times bombing

1 October 1910

Anarchist TU members bombed the HQ building - had been erected by non-TU members. 21 died & >100 were injured.

Clayton Antitrust Act

15 October 1914

First HoR action seriously favouring TUs: exempt Tus from anti-trust prosecution & legalised strikes/ peaceful picketing. It also established the rights of individual workers by identifying them explicitly as "not commodities"

Adamson Eight Hour Act

4 September 1916

Limited length of working day for railroad labourers, strengthing the position of TUs arguing for shorter days across the board

World War One

6 April 1917 - 11 November 1918

Conscription & immigration restrictions led to a shortage of labour: "Labor will win the war"; gave TUs bargaining power to negotiate higher wages...etc.

NWLB formed

April 1918

Former-P Taft ran the National War Labor Board to ensure that labour disputes & demands did not disrupt crucial production; discouraged strikes & threatened unemployed with being drafted. Usually supported TUs (short-term) BUT did not guarantee their right to unionise.

Seattle General Strike

6 February 1919 - 11 February 1919

Strike for higher wages (after 2 years of WWI wage controls). Despite sensible methods, mayor called in Fed troops to prevent "anarchy of Russia" spreading

First Red Scare

April 1919 - June 1920

TU leaders were lynched & militant members were arrested in a nationwide anti-communist panic - caused by WWI hyper-patriotism & sporadic bomb events.

Boston PD strike

9 September 1919

Wanted improvement in wages, working conditions & TU recognition. Was generally denounced by Fed workers as endangering the public safety

Steel Strike of 1919

21 September 1919 - 8 January 1920

Involved 370k workers, employers brought in 30k black strike-breakers. TU disunity & stubbornness of employers meant that the strike had to be abandoned, only after >10 workers died.

Norris-La Guardia Anti-Injunction Act

23 March 1932

Reduced Fed court ability to issue injunctions against TUs & banned 'yellow dog' contracts


16 June 1933 - 27 May 1935

The National Industrial Recovery Act guaranteed the right to form TUs & engage in collective bargaining
BUT SPC ruled it unconstitutional (states' rights)

Wagner Act

6 July 1935

The National Labor Relations Act showed Fed gov support for labour with the aim of reducing & controlling labour disputes.
It established a National Labor Relations Board of 3 TU representatives given sanction to negotiate for workers

CIO formed

6 November 1935

The Congress of Industrial Organisations aimed to organise all workers in industries within one TU - worked on an industry-TU business (not individual). Was against the closed shop.

Flint Sit-In Strike

30 December 1936 - 11 February 1937

The United Automobile Workers successfully employed the sit-in strike in a complex of car factories in Michigan to receive a closed shop system & massive rise in TU membership (30k to 500k)

Memorial Day Massacre

30 May 1937

Police called in to aid capitol in a peaceful strike at a small Chicago steel plant shot & killed 20 unarmed TU members

Fair Labor Standards Act


Attempted to reduce labor grievances & thus reduce disputes.
Established max day, min wage, prohibited child labour in interstate industries...etc
Agricultural, domestic & military workers were excluded thus many blacks, indians, latinos and women were exempt from benefits

Executive Order 8802

25 June 1941

Fed gov-contracted industries could not discriminate on the basis of creed/nationality...etc in employment

World War Two

7 December 1941 - 15 August 1945

During this period TUs made no-strike pledges (BUT occasionally abandoned them in the face of Fed gov mistreatment). Fed gov aimed to minimise strike activity as much as possible, so as to aid national effort

NWLB reformed

12 January 1942

Congress brought back the WWI board (at urging of FDR) to arbitrate labour disputes during wartime. The 3-man board put a ceiling on wage disputes - was resented by TUs

Smith-Connally Anti-Strike Act

25 June 1943

Authorised Fed gov to seize/operate industries torn by strike activity - as threatened by Teddy Roosevelt earlier. TUs resented this conservatist rise

SSA formed


P Truman urged Congress to establish the Social Security Administration - which gave workers significant economic protection

Taft-Hartley Act

23 June 1947

The Labor-National Management Relations Act curbed the power of organised labour under the defence of restoring labour balance & protecting the public from hyper-TU activity. Truman VETOed the Bill but his VETO was overridden.
The Act outlawed the closed shop, made TUs responsible for members' violence, required non-Commie oaths, allowed 80 day court injunctions & forbade Fed employees from striking

Korean War

25 June 1950 - 27 July 1953

Congress used this as an excuse to crush strike activity (as with WWII) as being unpatriotic & damaging to national war effort/security

P Truman intervention in Steel Strike

9 April 1952 - 24 July 1952

P Truman seized the steel industry to prevent a prolonged strike from having a negative impact on national efforts
2 June 1952 SPC ruled Truman's actions unconstitutional, prompting a TU strike for steel workers to gain higher wages (which they won)

AFL-CIO merger

4 December 1955

Continued public hostility (possibly down to TU over-success) forced the two largest US TUs to unite again to revitalise the TU movement. This ended the bitter struggle within the movement itself so that it could focus on battle against capital

McClellen Committee

30 January 1957

The Committee was formed by the Senate to investigate allegations of fraud/gangsterism/brass-knuckle tactics in US TUs. This they discovered, most notably in the Teamsters (who were subsequently expelled from the AFL)

Landrum-Griffin Act


Continued Fed action under McClellen Committee - forcing TUs to file financial reports & hold private ballots for leaders (while also guaranteeing right to attend meetings & right to free speech/assembly)

UFW formed

22 August 1966

The United Farm Workers unionised the only industry left untouched throughout the 60s/70s. Cesar Chavez was famous for leading several successful boycotts & strikes in the agricultural industry & getting the TU accepted into the AFL-CIO

Philadelphia Plan


P Nixon upheld LBJ's Executive Order 11246 which called for all Fed employees not to discriminate in matters of hiring (already a law passed by Congress).
This kicked off a wave of affirmative action in employment, inc. 'goals and timetables' for the hiring of black apprentices

Air Traffic Control Strike

3 August 1981 - 5 August 1981

An attempt by Fed air traffic workers to secure pay rise & TU recognition led to all nearly 12000 being dismissed by P Reagan (after refusing to stop striking after 48 hrs)